2024 Keweenaw Native Plant Symposium

A morning of fun and inspiring talks on the world of native plants and the creatures they benefit

Seventh Annual Keweenaw Native Plant Symposium
9 a.m.–Noon Eastern Time
Saturday, March 23
on Zoom
featuring nationally known author and speaker

David Mizejewski

Join us for a special presentation by award-winning author, naturalist, and media personality David Mizejewski, plus two Michigan-based experts on invasive species and native gardening.

Attendance is free, and everyone is welcome.
Click here to register

Keweenaw Wild Ones ~ Keweenaw Land Trust
Michigan State Extension Master Gardeners ~ MTU Sustainability Demonstration House


9 a.m.: Go Beyond Beauty:
Recruiting Nurseries in the Battle Against Invasive Exotics

by Dr. Sigrid Resh, KISMA coordinator and research assistant professor, Michigan Technological University

Many of the most pernicious invasive plants in our wildlands got their start via the nursery trade as garden ornamentals. The Keweenaw Invasive Species Management Area (KISMA) is part of a new initiative recognizing nurseries that refuse to sell these invaders.

A Michigan-based program, Go Beyond Beauty promotes local nurseries and landscapers who pledge not to sell highly invasive ornamental plants. “For many, the purpose of a garden begins and ends with beauty,” said Sigrid. Go Beyond Beauty is based on the premise that gardens should be both beautiful and beneficial.

Photo of invasive Japanese barberry by Leslie J. Mehrhoff, KISMA

Sigrid will explain the Go Beyond Beauty program and help you recognize the 14 invasive species that program participants are prohibited from selling and buying. “The goal is to promote healthy, native ecosystems by making better plant choices,” she says.

About the speaker

Dr. Sigrid Resh is a research professor in the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences at Michigan Tech and coordinator of KISMA. She has led multiple state- and federally funded projects combating invasives with the assistance of local and regional partners and volunteers. Her research focuses on alternatives to chemical control of invasive species for ecosystem restoration. Sigrid has a PhD in Forest Ecology from Colorado State University and an MS in Resource Economics from Michigan State University. She did her postdoctoral work in Tasmania, Australia, with CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization).

10 a.m. Keynote Address: Garden for Wildlife: Attracting Birds, Butterflies, and Other Backyard Wildlife

by David Mizejewski, award-winning author, speaker and habitat consultant

Naturalist David Mizejewski shares how to create a beautiful garden or landscape that fits into the local ecosystem and supports birds, butterflies, bees and a whole host of other wonderful wildlife neighbors. David will discuss native plants, the four components of habitat and sustainable gardening. He’ll also share how you can achieve the National Wildlife Federation’s “Certified Wildlife Habitat” recognition for your garden space.

Register for Keweenaw Wild Ones’ book club and order a copy of David’s book at a reduced price.

About the speaker

David is a naturalist and television host with the National Wildlife Federation. He holds a degree in human and natural ecology from Emory University and is an expert on wildlife and our environment. He’s dedicated to using his knowledge and unbridled enthusiasm to help others understand and protect wildlife.

David regularly appears in the media to promote wildlife conservation. He hosted and co-produced Backyard Habitat, a television series on Animal Planet that showed people how to transform their yards and gardens into thriving habitats for birds and other local wildlife. He appeared in the Animal Planet mini-series Springwatch U.S.A. that looked at the effect seasonal change has on wildlife, from salamanders and flying squirrels to great horned owls and black bears. He’s appeared on NatGeo WILD on series such as Are You Smarter Than, How Human Are You, and Unlikely Animal Friends and co-hosted the network’s prime time television series Pet Talk.

David regularly appears as a guest on television on shows including NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, Conan, RuPaul’s Drag Race, The Wendy Williams Show, Ellen, The Martha Stewart Show, Chelsea Lately, Hallmark Home and Family, Access Hollywood, Inside Edition, Good Day LA, TMZ Live, Mashable, Adult Swim, Fox and Friends, The Doctors and numerous other shows on networks including HGTV, Sundance Channel, The Weather Channel, History, PBS and CNN.

David has appeared in and provided voice-over for dozens of educational and advocacy videos, PSAs and DVD extras produced by both the National Wildlife Federation and Walden Media for the feature films Hoot, Nim’s Island, and The Chronicles of Narnia. He has participated as a wildlife expert in the press events for the major motion pictures Where the Wild Things Are and Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, The Nut Job, and The Hobbit.

11 a.m.: The Marquette County Native Garden Project:
Discover MCCD’s Gardens + Cultivate Your Own Native Habitat

by Maddie O’Donnell, district manager,
Marquette County Conservation District

The Marquette County Conservation District has developed and manages several native gardens, and their mission is to help everyone grow native. Maddie will explore some of these gardens, including how sites were prepared, why certain species were selected, their ongoing maintenance, how they were funded, and their success. She will expand into how to implement these practices for landowners, covering both landscaping with native plants and creating large pollinator plantings. 

About the speaker

Maddie O’Donnell has worked with the MCCD since 2018 and has helped implement more than 50 native gardens and habitat restoration projects.

She graduated from Northern Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and sustainability.